Change is hard. It is uncomfortable, challenging, emotional and frustrating. Whether it is something small like where you drop your keys when you get home or what drink you order at Starbucks, or something big like a bad habit or where you live, it is still difficult. The bottom line of it though, is that it is necessary to change in order to grow. The opportunity to become something greater than you are is a big deal. I am forever trying to improve myself, and can become frustrating to others due to my constant and rapid changing. I don’t wait around for things to get better, I actively pursue betterment. This can be seen as “intense”, “determined”, “overachieving”, and other grey words that are neither good nor bad. The problem is when these words mean that I get in my own way, or hurt someone important to me, in the pursuit of my goals. That’s not alright, and needs to be changed (don’t you love the ironic cycle of my situation?!).
I am currently working on several personal projects:
1) Only surrounding myself with things, people, and projects that are positive and advance my life. In order to do this, I’ve had to learn two TERRIBLE words: “help” and “no”. I stink at using these words, especially with other adults. In contrast to my internal monologue, I am not a superhero and cannot do everything, especially not by myself. I’m working on eliminating projects that I cannot be passionate about, in order to better dedicate myself to the projects that I find truly are what I feel called to do.
2) Follow through. This one is my worst. I dream BIG. I intend to do good, but often fall short of my own goals. This is good in that you shouldn’t ever achieve your goals, or you’re not setting them high enough. This is not good when, like me, you make promises to others and fail to meet their expectations. I often run out of resources (time, money, & energy especially) to meet all of the needs that I want to satisfy. I need to prioritize, make fewer promises, and follow through to make good on them. “Character is what you repeatedly do.” Unfortunately for me, this may mean that I am not such a great friend. Even with the best of intentions, I’ve let some of the best friends I’ve ever had in my life down. This has resulted in the hard lesson learned by finding myself in a position of being wrong and unable to repair the damage to trust that I’ve created. Its a hard pill to swallow when something is your fault, and “I’m sorry” doesn’t cut it. I guess that’s what being an adult is sometimes: taking responsibility for your shortcomings. Not. Fun.
3) Taking things one step at a time. With two kids under four, it isn’t possible to “get it all done in one day” like I used to do. You have to be strategic about your projects and resource allocation. Strategy is the only way to make your reality what you want it to be. Being passive simply results in missed opportunity. So I’ve got to learn to break down my bigger projects into little ones, and accept that lots of baby steps add up to big achievements. One example of this is my current weight loss pursuit when I get frustrated when I only lose .2 lbs in a week instead of my goal of 1 lb. Well, if I do the .2 every week, I will get to my goal weight eventually. In fact, I am more likely to keep it off if it comes off slower than if I drop it all at once. Still stinks out loud when you stand on the scale after a week of dieting and working out to see that nothing has changed. My body has improved, and I know I’ve replaced some fat with muscle and yada yada, but still, sometimes its nice when that number goes down.
4) Listening. I wish I was a better listener. I wish I didn’t get so up in my own head and wrapped up in my own voice that I miss what others are really saying. My kids, friends, and family deserve better. I need to slow down and stop. It’s hard to shift gears and not go at a supersonic pace saying yes to everything the way I used to. I am realizing though that it is the relationships with family and friends that make all of the other projects and changes worthwhile. If that’s the case, the most important thing I can do is make myself available to those people and listen to what they have to say. Really listen. Its not as easy as it sounds, and few people can actually do it. Please be patient with me as I take off my “thinking cap” and turn on my “listening ears”… I’ve got “hat head” and “ear wax” built up over years of not realizing the importance of listening skills. I’m working on it.
5) Forgiving myself. I am my own worst enemy, beating myself into a pulp over my shortcomings over and over until I feel like I can’t even try anymore to change them. Without forgiving myself for my weaknesses, I will never get to a place where I can repair them or strengthen them. Daring to be vulnerable and forgiving myself for lacking the knowledge or strength in an area of my life will result in progress. Fear of failing and denying the situation will result in self fulfilling prophesy. I’ve spent 31 years being my own worst bully. It’s time to become my own friend and listen to what life, God, the universe, and my heart are telling me. I am my own biggest road block, and its time to get out of my own way.
I’m not even really sure what this post is driving at other than that change is hard. It sucks. No one likes to change until after it’s done and they can look back with pride and say WOW I DID IT! We are all works in progress. None of the changes that I’ve listed here will ever be completely accomplished. They will be ongoing struggles and areas of work in my life forever. But if I take baby steps, maybe I will get closer to being the person that I want to be. That’s all that I can do.
The same goes for you. What are you working on? How can you get better? What is your strategy? When can you start? Whats standing in your way? I wish you the best as you face your shortcomings and work to improve upon yourself. Recognize that you also have strengths, and that you need to give yourself credit for how far you’ve come as well as looking to where you have to go.